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At least since the Islamic revolution of 1979 in Iran, political Islam or Islamism has been the focus of attention among scholars, policymakers, and the general public. Much has been said about Islamism as a political and moral/ethical trend, but scant attention is paid to its ongoing development. There is now a growing acknowledgment within the scholarly and policy communities that Islamism is in the throes of transformation, but little is known about the nature and direction of these changes. The essays of Post-Islamism bring together young and established scholars and activists from different parts of the Muslim World and the West to discuss their research on the changing discourses and practices of Islamist movements and Islamic states largely in the Muslim majority countries. The changes in these movements can be termed 'post-Islamism,' defined both as a condition and a project characterized by the fusion of religiosity and rights, faith and freedom, Islam and liberty. Post-Islamism emphasizes rights rather than merely obligation, plurality instead of singular authoritative voice, historicity rather than fixed scriptures, and the future instead of the past.
Asef Bayat is the Catherine and Bruce Bastian Professor of Global and Transnational Studies and teaches sociology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.